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A special chartered flight arrived at Lahore this afternoon with 260 Pakistanis on board. This is the 5th such flight since August 13, 2014 aimed at bringing back the thousands of stranded Pakistanis in Libya. It may be recalled that before the advent of hostilities, in the wake of rival militias’ conflict, there were 18,000 Pakistani nationals residing in Libya. The Pakistan Embassy in Libya facilitated the exit of around 4500 compatriots through third countries before the deteriorating security situation closed the option for land based evacuation.

Left with the options for air or sea evacuation only, all possible avenues were explored and initially PIA was hired to operate special flights. Three PIA special flights operated on 13th, 21st and 28th August, 2014, brought back 953 Pakistanis before the commencement of Hajj operations limited PIA’s ability to continue this evacuation mission. Resultantly, a private charter company was hired in Libya to operate special direct flights to Pakistan from the only operational airport closee to Tripoli. It was ensured that the cost per person was lower than what PIA had been paid. Two special chartered flights so far have brought back 521 stranded Pakistanis thus bringing the total of those evacuated by air to 1474.

Despite the massive evacuation endeavor, thousands of Pakistanis are still stranded in Libya with around 3000 accommodated in the relief camps set up by Pakistan Embassy. Regular special flights are scheduled for the coming weeks to ensure that all those Pakistani nationals wishing to evacuate are brought back to the motherland, as per Prime Minister’s directive.

4th September 2014

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